Art And Memories From The Susan K. Black Foundation Workshop In Dubois, Wyoming, Sept. 2016

mt-moran
Mt. Moran; pen and ink, grey felt tip brush on paper

I got back home at midnight last Saturday from two days in Grand Tetons National Park and five days at the 15th Annual Susan K. Black Foundation workshop. Both were a resounding success. You can read about my time in the park here. This post is about the workshop, which I’ve attended four times in the past and plan to go to next year.

All the previous instructors had been invited and almost all of them where there, including nationally known artists like James Gurney, John and Suzie Seerey-Lester, Greg Beecham, Mort Solberg, David Rankin, Jeanne Mackenzie, Andrew Denman, Guy Combes, Ann Trusty Hulsey and John Hulsey, all of whom I know personally or have studied with or both.

One of the main events is the Quick Draw, a traditional name but almost every artist at this workshop did paintings. Here’s some photos of the event in action. It’s followed by sketches and watercolors that I did in the Grand Tetons and EA Ranch.

gurney-pronghorn
James Gurney, known best for his “Dinotopia” books, painted a portrait of this pronghorn antelope in casein, gouache and colored pencil
rankin-osprey
David Rankin, who I worked with most during the week (more on that in a future post) painted an osprey
guy-cheetah
Guy Combes did a lovely painting of a cheetah
andrew-owl
Andrew Denman created a graphite on paper drawing of a barn owl
phelps-portrait
Although he’s better known for his sculpture, John Phelps painted a portrait the old-fashioned way…from a study drawing
j-s-l-moose
John Seerey-Lester chose to paint a moose, one of the very popular animals to see in the Grand Tetons
hulsey-landscape
John Hulsey who, with his wife Ann Trusty Hulsey, publish the online art website and newsletter The Artist’s Road, went for a late light landscape in watercolor
beecham-polar-bear
Greg Beecham chose to paint a polar bear, bringing in the whites over a toned canvas

The weather was partly cloudy while I drove around Grand Tetons NP, which meant interesting light that could change very quickly. The aspens and cottonwoods were turning to their fall colors, too. All in all a perfect time to be there.

Both of the first ones were painted over the course of a couple of hours along the Moose Wilson Road.

aspens
Aspens- watercolor on Saunders Waterford paper 8×8″
aspens-and-storm
Aspens with storm clouds- watercolor on Saunders Waterford paper 8×8″
dsc_8090
Clouds and light
ea-ranch
Scenery at EA Ranch, near Dubois- watercolor on Arches cold press paper 8″x4″
ea-horses-1
Pen and ink sketches- Sakura Micron .01 pen in a Beta Series Stillman and Birn sketchbook
version-2
Pen and ink sketches- same media as above
skb-cd-1
Contour sketches at SKB- same media as above
skb-cd-3
Contour sketches, SKB and the Denver airport- same media as above

 

9-18-2016: I’m In Dubois, Wyoming For The 15th Annual Susan K. Black Foundation Art Workshop/Conference

a grand tetons
The Grand Tetons on a fine fall afternoon

I flew to Jackson Hole, Wyoming last Wednesday and spent a few days cruising the art galleries, the annual auction art and a stop at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Also had time to do some wildlife watching and location sketching and painting. I drove east to Dubois yesterday afternoon and had dinner with an artist friend and colleague who lives on a ranch.

I’m going to try to post something every day of the workshop, which begins this afternoon and runs through next Saturday morning. There are instructors and artists here from all over the country, including James Gurney of Dinotopia fame. He was the featured artist the year before last, when I also attended.

Here’s some photos from the wildlife watching in Grand Tetons National Park:

Mule deer buck
As seems to sometimes be the case, it’s the end of the day, the light is gone and I’m heading back to the motel on Antelope Flats Road and suddenly realized I was driving between two mule deer bucks, one on either side of the road. I stopped turned around and drove slowly along side them. Then the bigger of the two turned towards the road and I stopped, shooting through the windshield as he crossed the road right in front of me
a black bear
Sometimes lucky is better than good. I showed up at exactly the right moment to be stopped by the ranger and photograph this young black bear crossing the road. Was this going to be a theme for this trip?
late light cottonwoods
The fall colors were at their height, these cottonwoods glowing in the late light
a bull bison
I saw no bison the first day. The second afternoon there was a BIG herd to the north of the famous old barn, way too far for photos. I hadn’t driven down Mormon Row yet, a dirt road with old homesteads on either side at one end which connected with Gros Ventre Road at the other. About half way was another herd of bison! And pretty close to the road. I stayed until the sun dropped behind the mountain behind me
a cow moose
I was driving through the Gros Ventre Campground in the morning, well-known among wildlife watchers as a moose hangout and spotted a cow moose laying in the bushes. Took a few “I saw her” shots and moved on. Really needed a restroom after hanging with the bison so headed back to the campground. On the way out, by golly, there she still was, only on her feet and browsing. I mentioned seeing her to someone in town and they told me that she’s always there
a bull moose
In all my trips to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons over the years the one animal that I had never got a full view or decent photos of was an adult bull moose. I was driving back to the motel, quite happy to have seen the cow, when I saw the row of folks with scopes and cameras on the riverbank. What the heck? I walked over just in time to see this big bull emerge from behind the cottonwood. It had gotten dark enough that I sat on the ground and used my knees for a tripod to get a number of shots of him.
oxbow
Yesterday I drove north from Jackson and stopped at this iconic view of Mount Moran from the Oxbow, where the Snake River makes a curving bend. Then it was on to Dubois

Paintings in Progress

A few of you may remember that I was posting images of an elk painting in progress. I’m sure the suspense has been killing you. As it happens, it was a bust. Too many problems with the drawing of the elk that I saw after I’d let it sit awhile. Win some, lose some.

But here are two that are well on the way-

First is a bobcat I photographed at the Triple D Game Ranch and transferred to a more interesting setting that I shot on the Firehole River in Yellowstone. The trick, of course, is to make the light match when the reference is from two different locations, like Montana vs. Wyoming. However, both are morning light.

The second is Mt. Moran at Grand Tetons National Park with the famous Oxbow of the Snake River in the foreground. I’ve got three pieces of reference up for this one. One is overexposed for the mountains, but has the compositional angle I want and great reflections. The other two have rich color and show more detail of the mountain. For this subject, as I learned from a workshop I took a few years ago with Jim Wilcox, one has to introduce some atmospheric perspective in order for the painting to “read” correctly. The air is soooo clear that the Tetons look to be a few hundred yards away, but actually they are around 10-12 miles from the major vantage points along the road. So, getting the value relationships right is critical. And so is being decisive and accurate in the drawing of the mountain. It’s really a portrait in rock. Stay tuned.

ART THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

I see a flower. It gives me the sensation of the beautiful. I wish to paint it. And as soon as I wish to paint it I see the whole subject-flower-changed. It is now an art problem to resolve.

Georges Vantongerloo